We are happy to announce the publication of Bharata Raitangam Pai Daadi, the Telugu translation of The Attack on India’s Peasantry (Aspects no.s 75 & 76). The translation is by P. Jamuna, and the publishers are Charitha Publications. The price is 120/-

The pdf of the book can be accessed here.

The print version is available at

Navodaya Book House,
Opp Arya Samaj Mandir
Kachiguda X Rds
Hyderabad 500027
Web: http://www.TeluguBooks.in

or with the publisher

Charitha Publications 
12-13-830/13/B, SSR Apartments, plot no:13, 
PHONE NUMBER: 9866559867

On bulk orders by booksellers a 50% concession will be given by the publisher. For non-bulk orders, a concession of Rs.20/- per copy will be given on copies ordered directly from the publisher. 

Two Dharnas

Two Dharnas

For months on end, Indian peasants have tenaciously sustained mass protests at two very different sites. Not only are the locations of the protests vastly different, but so too are the sections of peasantry involved; the issues on which they are struggling; and the specific authorities to whom their demands are addressed. The two sets of agitators even look very different. And yet there are links too between the conditions of these two sections of peasants.

The peasants at Delhi
One site of protest, about which most newspaper readers are aware, and about which we have written earlier on this blog, is at the borders of Delhi. Since July 22, a limited demonstration by a select group of these agitators is also taking place at Jantar Mantar, a short distance away from Parliament. These are men and women peasants of relatively developed regions, largely Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, in that order. Their immediate demand is the scrapping of the farm-related Acts which were rushed through Parliament by the Central Government in September 2020.

The rulers claim that these Acts have been brought in for the benefit of the farmers, and that the farmers are being misled or instigated by anti-national elements. The reality is, the peasants are agitating because they know that, with these Acts, the system of public procurement of foodgrains will be dismantled step by step; giant private corporations will take over the procurement, storage and distribution of agricultural commodities; these corporations will shift the pattern of cultivation acccording to their profitability; and large numbers of small peasants, without the guarantee of purchase of their crops at remunerative prices, will lose their lands to large farmers or to private corporations, even as they lack alternative avenues of employment.

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Tamil Translation of Crisis and Predation

CAP Tamil cover

A Tamil translation of RUPE’s book Crisis and Predation: India, Covid-19 and Global Finance has been released today by the publisher, Chinthan Books.

The title in Tamil is “Nerukadiyum sooraiyaadalum”. The book has been translated by Praveen Raj B., who also runs the Tamil RUPE blog (https://tamilrupe.wordpress.com). It is 354 pages long, and is priced at Rs 350. For copies please contact:

Chinthan Books, 327/1 Dewan Sahib Garden, T.T.K.Road
Royapettah, Chennai-600014. Contact number: 94451 23164

The book can also be ordered from https://www.commonfolks.in/books/d/covid-19-nerukkadiyum-sooraiyaadalum


Punjabi Translation of “The Kisans Are Right”

A Punjabi translation of “The Kisans Are Right”, parts 1, 2, and 3, has been published under the title Zameenan ’te Sansar Vyapi Corporate Dhaava. The publisher is Surkh Leeh Publications, Nakhie Wali Pahi, PUDA Colony, Gandhi Nagar, Rampura Phul, Bathinda, Punjab 151103, Landline: 01651-227295, Mobile: 94785-84295. The price is not given.

Rahul Varman[1]

Amid the sweeping pandemic and the health emergency across the country, some may have missed the headline that Cairn Energy, a leading UK-based oil and gas exploration corporation, had filed a suit in New York to claim the international assets of Air India, the State-owned airline of India. The basis of Cairn’s demand is that it claims that the Indian government owes it a large sum as a result of a tax dispute. Though some of the immediate issues of the case and the rights and wrongs by the parties concerned are being discussed, especially by the business media, there are larger issues involved here regarding the relationship between big capital, especially big international capital, and the State; as also the very nature of big capital and the flagship institution through which it works, the corporation. Below we comment briefly on these questions.

Cairn Energy – India Tax Dispute
First, some bare details of the dispute between the Indian government and Cairn Energy.[2] In simple terms, the dispute is as follows: Cairn transferred its Indian assets from one subsidiary to another, and in this process, reaped a huge capital gain (i.e., an increase in the value of the asset, realised when the asset is sold). But no taxes were paid on this capital gain, as would normally have to be paid in India. Cairn’s defence was that the transaction was carried out abroad, even though the assets were Indian.

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Aspects no.s 75 & 76 has been ready for nearly one and a half months, but unfortunately the press was unable to print the issue due to Covid-related restrictions and lockdowns. We are posting the cover here and the full text here (click on the highlighted links to access the pdfs). However, we will now be able to bring out the print issue. Our apologies for the delay. — Editor.

— Rahul Varman

A Tamil translation by G. Ramesh has been published on the Vinavu portal:

On the morning of 27th April I got a phone call from the youngest son of a trade union veteran of Kanpur, that everyone in his large household has been down with COVID-19 (henceforth Covid)-like symptoms. Though the condition of others was stable, his father’s oxygen levels were going down, and they had not been able to find either oxygen, or more importantly, a bed for him in any hospital. I called up the coordinator of a community help group being run for the Covid-affected in my academic campus. He reminded me that his father-in-law, who used to stay with him, had passed away on that very date a year back. That year-old story was repeating itself, of course in a much more grotesque form, with no oxygen, no hospital admission, and a sense of complete loss and helplessness. In the interim a whole long year has passed, when instead of looking at cricket scores we have become used to looking at Covid numbers the first thing in the morning.

What we are seeing, even in the alternative media, is primarily about those who have any sort of access (or think that it is their right to have access) to the ‘system’, in terms of testing, doctor’s attention, medicine, oxygen, ambulance, beds, so on and so forth. The actual reality is far grimmer when we look at those who never enjoyed that access. The neighbouring locality of Nankari, with a population of around 50,000, is separated from our elite and idyllic college campus by just a high security wall. In Nankari – where all those who serve us, from our household workers to contract workers of all kinds, those cleaning, manning security, running the mess, stay in their thousands – there is not access to a single ‘qualified’ doctor. There are only jholawala doctors.

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[A Telugu translation of this article is included in Bharata Raitangam Pai Daadi (translator: P. Jamuna), the pdf of which can be found here.]

A tweet by Greta Thunberg (“We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India,”) provided ardent campaigners in favour of the Indian government’s neoliberal farm laws with a target for attack.

The arguments by these campaigners were very similar, rather as if they had been provided a common “toolkit” by the Government. The picture that emerges from their responses is that the protesting farmers, and in particular Punjabi farmers, are a sinister force, a pampered and subsidized “tribe”, depleting the water of future generations, poisoning the land and air, killing and maiming millions.

Shamika Ravi, former member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, tweeted: “The irony! Climate champion standing in support of farming practices that have led to poisoned land, vanishing water-table and the ‘cancer trains’.” Another neoliberal economist tweeted that “these farmers are anti-everything Greta Thunberg wants. They are depleting the groundwater table, causing massive air pollution by burning crops, overusing free electricity & subsidized diesels pumps”. The Economic Times commented: “Thunberg… doesn’t know the sustainability issues that dog Indian agriculture due to political pampering of a small tribe of well-to-do farmers”.

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The following are some recent translations of RUPE materials. An earlier collection of links to translations was given here: https://rupeindia.wordpress.com/2021/01/27/translations-of-recent-articles-related-to-agriculture/

We thank all those who have undertaken these translations. They help reach these materials to those who can make best use of them. Continue Reading »

— Rahul Varman[1]

[A Telugu translation of this article can be accessed here. The translation is by P. Jamuna.]

Amid the continuing farm protests, with the farmers completing almost three months camping at the borders of Delhi, the international news agency Reuters published a report based on multiple internal documents of Amazon regarding its India operations over the last few years.[2] Amazon is a global e-commerce giant, and it has already achieved close to $10 billion annual sales (value of merchandise sold) in India. Its CEO is supposed to be one of the richest persons on the planet. What do the documents reveal?

In short, the documents reveal the huge difference between the public face of the company and the actual reality when it comes to complying with government policies and regulations. The documents contain directions and inputs for the senior staff as to what they should claim in their meetings with the Indian officials and policy makers. At the same time they inform top Amazon executives that the company has been systematically flouting many of the Indian regulations and policies, and hence the outcome of the corporation’s actions has been exactly opposite of what those policies were supposed to achieve. All the while, the company publicly proclaimed that it was wholeheartedly supporting and promoting the stated policy objectives.

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– Yogi Aggarwal

The Government’s chief policy-making body, NITI Aayog, has commissioned a research organisation, CUTS International, to study the “economic impact” of various judgments delivered by Supreme Court, the high courts, and quasi-judicial bodies such as the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The study is aimed at “sensitising the judiciary on the economic impact of their decisions”. The Niti Aayog blames “judicial activism” for stalling projects in different parts of the country. The study findings will be used as a “training input for judges of commercial courts, NGT, HCs, SC”.

By “economic impact” the Aayog actually means the impact on the profits of private businesses. As part of the new study, CUTS has started research on the 2013 NGT ban on sand mining on the Yamuna river bed in Gautam Buddha Nagar, which caused “severe and avoidable losses to the sand mining industry, leaseholders, as well as truck owners.” Other judgments to be studied concern the Vedanta Sterlite copper plant, iron ore mining in Goa, an airport in Goa, and building construction in Delhi. Continue Reading »